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551W21, 551 West 21st Street: Review and Ratings

at The Northeast corner of Eleventh Avenue View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 551 West 21st Street by Carter Horsley

Some architects like to recycle their plans, but not Norman Foster, Lord Foster of Thames Bank, the architect of such major world landmarks as the Viaduc de Millau Bridge over the Tarn Valley in France, the very high-tech Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank tower in Hong Kong, the Sainsbury Center in England, the glass dome at the Reichstag in Berlin and the glass roof at the British Museum in London, and the Hearst Tower on West 57th Street and his very slick 50 United Nations Plaza with some curves now nearing completion for the Zeckendorfs here.

His latest project is a mid-rise apartment building for SR Capital of which Scott Resnick is the principal and GTIS Partners at 551 West 21st Street in Chelsea, just up the proverbial road from Jean Nouvel’s crazy-quilt 100 Eleventh Avenue and Frank O. Gehry’s billowing office building for Barry Diller’s IAC building.  Mr. Resnick was formerly president of Jack Resnick & Sons and is the chairman of the Building Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art that is relocating from Madison Avenue to a new building designed by Renzo Piano in the Meatpacking District by the High Line.

The 19-story building contains 44 apartments.  Beyer Blinder Belle is the associate architect for the project.

Bottom Line

The building raises the bar for luxury apartments and its overall design defies easy categorization.


It has an in-and-out treatment of its base and some balconies not only have glass railings but also are part of large apartment “recessed loggias.” Some of its windows are framed in gold-colored metal and others in black metal and many will have “window seating.” 

The asymmetrical building has a large curved driveway next to a large “green” wall, and the centerpiece of the 34-foot-high lobby is a handsome, tall sculpture.


It has a concierge, a doorman, a porter, a live-in superintendent, a bicycle room, a children’s playroom, a gym, laundry, a residents’ louge with fireplace and catering kitchen, and parking is available.


Kitchens have polished Blanco de Macael marble countertops and backsplashes, custom kitchens with natural stained oak cabinetry, two Sub-Zero refrigerators and wine coolers, two Miele convection ovens, two Miele dishwashers, a Gaggenau cooktop with vented hood, a Gaggenau barbecue grill and a Gaggenau Teppanyaki grill and a cooling drawer.

The master bathrooms have Luna black granite flooring, Quarella stone wall tiles, an Americh “Beijing” free-standing tub, and radiant heating floors.

The three full-floor penthouse units have about 6,200 square feet of space with 360-degree views and 12-foot-high ceilings, recessed brass cove foyer lighting, curved window reveals with perimeter seating in all rooms, separate elevator entrances for entertaining and private quarters, a wood-burning, double-sided fireplace, grand rooms interconnected with library and club rooms, concealed ceiling mounted four pipe, fan-coil heating, ventilating and air conditioning units, and awning-style, top-hung, operable windows.

The uppermost unit has more than 4,000 square feet of outdoor space with a 61-foot-long, swimming pool.  


Foster’s finest design was for the Whitney Museum, an unbuilt, mixed-use tower in the 1970s with a slanted glass base as expansion space for the museum of a tower with interchangeable black-metal panels with a variety of geometric cutouts for windows for the apartments.


Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 25 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 31 / 36

Out of 39

Features Rating: 25 / 39


CityRealty Rating Reference

  • 30+ remarkable
  • 20-29 distinguished
  • 11-19 average
  • < 11 below average
  • 27+ remarkable
  • 18-26 distinguished
  • 9-17 average
  • < 9 below average
  • 22+ remarkable
  • 16-21 distinguished
  • 9-15 average
  • < 9 below average
  • #21 Rated condo - Downtown
  • #5 Rated condo - Chelsea
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Key Details
One Manhattan Square
between Pike Slip & Rutgers Slip
Lower East Side
Enjoy breathtaking views and unparalleled amenities, including spa with 75-foot saltwater pool, hot tub, sauna and a tranquility garden.
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